The Victor Welsh National Championships 2019 with 38 entries across all
five events got off to an explosive start with some tough first round matches
with a good mix of Regional Academy junior players putting on some excellent
displays against the more experienced senior players. Many of the juniors will
take considerable experience away from the event and hopefully build on it for
future years. All 4 seeds Dan Font (1), Tsung Fong Mo(2), Will Kitching(3) and
Adam Stewart(4) all made it through the first 2 rounds securing them all a
place in Sunday’s Semi Final.
The Ladies Doubles was played over a group format between 4 pairs,
Jordan and Lowri Hart reigning Champions and top seeds, beat the young pairing
of Jasmine Owen and Carys Jones who put up a good fight against the Hart’s, losing
out in two straight sets. Second seeds and ex National Champion Carissa Turner,
and junior partner Aimie Whiteman, where up against Saffron Morris and Sarah
Platt in their first match, winning in convincing fashion to then face Jasmine
Owen and Carys Jones, which was another tough match for the junior pair. Both
seeded pairs played off in the final match to top the group and to become
National Champions. In a thrilling 3 set match in an evenly fought contest with
all four ladies displaying good tactical awareness and power in a match which
lasted 38 minutes; Carissa Turner and Aimie Whiteman came out as the eventual
winners winning 19-21/21-12/11-21.
The Ladies Singles saw only 6 girls competing, giving top seed and world
number 110 Jordan Hart a bye in the first round to face the winner of the match
between Jasmine Owen and Carys Jones. Jasmine played a composed match and
controlled large parts of the game by not letting Carys settle, having recently
come back from injury beating her 21-17/21-13. In the lower half of the draw
Lowri Hart second seed, who is aiming to reach the later stages for the second
consecutive year also received a bye will face Saffron Morris who has had an
excellent season playing at U13/U15 having beat Jessica Ding 21-16/21-14
respectively. The Semi Finals will see Jordan Hart (1) versus Jasmine Owen and
Lowri Hart(2) versus Saffron Morris.
The Men’s Doubles was played over 4 groups with top two progressing into
the quarter finals. Current National Champions Ollie Gwilt and Dan Font looked
strong again in their early matches. Number 2 seeds Joe Cottrill and Matthew
Sprake showed good form getting through the group where they played number 4
seeds Andrew Jones and Adam Stewart; sadly, early in the first set Andrew Jones
was forced to retire due to a knee injury, we wish you a speedy recovery
Andrew! Scott Oates and Nic Strange, both players who are no strangers to the
latter stages of the National Championships, stamped their authority on the
group stage and powered their way into the Semi Finals. Unseeded Will Kitching
and Andrew Oates who have recently forged the partnership, looked like they
meant business safely navigating their way into the Semi Finals and beating the
no 2 seeds Sprake and Cottrill in the group stage.
In the Mixed Doubles there were some excellent matches to finish off a good
day of play with many of the players feeling a little weary having competed in
the Singles and Doubles; however, this didn’t thwart the effort and commitment
levels within the group stages. Top seeds Will Kitching and Carissa Turner
showed their experience to book themselves into the last four to face Alex
Ewins and Sarah Platt who demonstrated some excellent play versus Joe Cottrill
and Katie Whiteman. Second seeds Scott Oates and Aimie Whiteman showed some
explosive exchanges with some good attacking play to secure a Semi Final spot
to face number 3 seeds Matthew Sprake and Sammy Hutt who had played very well
throughout the group stage and quarter final by beating Nic Strange and Saffron
Following on from a great day of play day 2 did not disappoint. The day
started with the Mixed Doubles semi-finals with Will Kitching and Carissa
Turner (1) against Alex Ewins and Sarah Platt, Matthew Sprake and Sammy Hutt (3)
against Scott Oates and Aimie Whiteman (2). After some hard-fought matches Will Kitching
and Carissa Turner (1) secured their place in the Final against Matthew Sprake
and Sammy Hutt.
Next up was the Women’s Singles and the Men’s Singles. The Women’s
Singles saw number 1 seed Jordan Hart in action against Jasmine Owen, and
Saffron Morris against Lowri Hart (2). The Hart sisters put in a strong
performance in the semi’s, going through to the finals with Jordan winning
21-4/21-12 and Lowri winning 21-15/21-5.
In the Men’s Singles Dan Font (1) took on Will Kitching (3) with Dan
winning 21-19/21-14. Adam Stewart (4) took on Tsung Mo (2) in the second of the
semi-finals with Tsung Mo (2) coming out on top, winning 21-14/25-23.
The last of the Semi Finals, the Men’s Doubles, saw Dan Font and Ollie
Gwilt (1) take on Joe Cotrill and Matthew Sprake (2), and the pairing of Scott
Oates and Nic Strange (3) took on Will Kitching and Andy Oates. Dan Font and Ollie Gwilt (1) took the match
in two sets winning 21-16/21-13 and Scott Oates and Nic Strange (3) won
The weekend concluded with the finals. Starting with the Mixed Doubles Matthew
Sprake and Sammy Hutt (3) took on number 1 seeds Carissa Turner and Will
Kitching in their battle to be National Champions. The Mixed Doubles title was won by Carissa
Turner and Will Kitching (1) in two sets 21-12/21-17.
Next up was the Men’s Singles with Tsung Mo (2) taking on number 1 seed
Dan Font in a battle to be National Champion.
Dan Font (1) showed his experience and steamed ahead, retaining the
title in two sets 21-7/21-13.
The Women’s Singles followed, and it was the
battle of the Hart sisters. The match was full of long rallies, fantastic cross
court winners and mental tenacity. The sisters battled it out giving spectators
a great show but, in the end, it was Jordan who finished the victor, winning
the match 21-16/21-18.
The final match of the day was the Men’s Doubles
with Scott Oates and Nic Strange (3) taking on the reigning champions Dan Font
and Ollie Gwilt (1). Both pairs came out
of the blocks fighting hard for the title making it a spectacular game to watch. Although Font & Gwilt haven’t been on
court together in a while they quickly returned to their old form winning in
two sets 23-21/21-13.
Matthew Hughes commented; “Congratulations to all players who achieved at
the Welsh National Championships, naturally well done to all the Champions also
some incredible performances by our Junior players up against seniors, you can
all be extremely proud.
A big thank you to all players who supported the event and it was great
to see some old faces back playing and enjoying.
Well done to another excellently run tournament referee’ d by Stephen
Temple and to all the umpires and line judges. Your work is very much
Good luck to you all for the rest of the season.”
Another big thank you goes
to our dedicated volunteers who helped Umpire and Line Judge at our event. The
officials in attendance were: John Walsh, Bernadino Lorenzo, Martin Godfrey,
Chris Taylor, Nigel South, Pradip Songera, David Shore, Simon Ewins, Ed Breen
and Huw John who was on Shuttle Control.